Career Event

One month ago, the Education Committee organized the annual Career Event in collaboration with our fellow Faculty of Social Sciences study associations Maizena and Mozaic. Throughout two evenings, alumni from our program shared with us their career experience in either industry or academia. In case you missed the event or could use a reminder on the most important tips, we’ve got you covered! Here are some of the most important takeaways (according to us):

Industry

Daniëlle Tump (Biomedical Researcher at imec/OnePlanet)

  • A start-up is a dynamic environment with many opportunities; there are a small number of employees, which help you feel important –> but sometimes the budget is not a lot
  • Her knowledge of the brain and conducting research gathered in her Master’s degree helped her work as a researcher/algorithm developer/product manager at MindAffect
  • In her current job, Daniëlle enjoys the flexibility and the possibility of conducting research; but work can get quite busy, goals need to be met since it is an official business, and there are quite a number of meetings

Malte Köster (analytical consultant in Google advertising sales)

  • Compared to academic environments, the industry involves more teamwork and usually shorter projects with less depth and less freedom, and people use spreadsheets and slides a lot
  • Some careers tips: talk to people, learn about your options, and learn transferable skills
  • Some relevant skills: programming, statistics, teamwork/leadership/project management

Academia

Dr. Marlieke van Kesteren (grant consultant with an extensive past career in academia)

  • Some career tips for academia: network and let people know you are looking for a job, use social media (especially Twitter), consider what type of lab fits you, and consult the (former) people in interesting labs
  • How to network: via colleagues, social media, indirectly (“through the grapevine”), and through informational interviews (most often with peers)
  • Follow the money: be proactive and keep track of (personal) grants, and when a topic interests you contact the researcher asap
  • Some relevant skills: writing, presenting, coding, (strategic) planning, communication
  • Pros of academia: the freedom/flexibility, it is intellectually challenging, the creativity and inspiration, the ability to follow your passion, the international network, lots of travels, and the fun and bright colleagues
  • Cons of academia: the high pressure, >40 hours of work/week, lots of side things, you must publish or you perish, having to follow trends, projects never really ending, and having to compete with your friends
  • It is not a shame to leave academia, think about what you like and don’t like, network and follow career counseling, and apply whenever something nice comes along

Dr. Angela de Bruin (lecturer at the University of York)

  • Pros of academia: doing what you love, the flexibility of working on your own questions, travelling, getting to know different people and living in different places, teaching and supervising can be very enjoyable
  • Cons of academia: can be difficult to have a 9 to 5 schedule, your work is your own responsibility, it is far more difficult to work internationally with a family, the non-research side activities can take up a lot of time, and the pressure and competition
  • Tips to get academic jobs: think about why you want this job –> consider other jobs too, leaving academia is not “failing”, contact people by writing a personal e-mail about yourself AND about them, tell as many people that you are looking for a position (such as via social media), think about ways to apply for your own funding (such as to a Marie Curie for a postdoc), find out if this is the right place and supervisor for you
  • Tips to get the most out of your job: think about which skills you want to develop and ways to develop them, learn to say no, network by collaborating with others, supervise others (and ask your supervisor if this is not offered), apply for (small) grants

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